The Raiders held the Cougars' power-play unit scoreless in the third period to force overtime, where Jack Nei's wrist shot sealed a win.
Cretin-Derham Hall's Ryne Mohrman goes after a puck behind his own net against Centennial. Mohrman scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game at 2 late in the second period. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Cretin-Derham Hall seemed to play a man down almost all of Thursday's matchup against Centennial — the first game of the Schwan’s Cup Gold Division round-robin tournament at Aldrich Ice Arena.
The Raiders were whistled for penalties five times and spent 13 minutes of game time in the penalty box.
That disadvantage didn’t show on the scoreboard when the final buzzer sounded at the end of overtime of a 3-2 victory for Cretin-Derham Hall.
“That was unbelievable,” Raiders forward Jack Nei said. "Shout-out to our penalty killers.
“That was the best penalty kill I’ve ever seen.”
Nei made sure his teammates' efforts weren’t hollow when he smoked a 10-foot wrist shot past Centennial goaltender Casey Coppersmith to close out the victory 4 minutes, 56 seconds into overtime.
“[Matthew] Gleason poked it from the defenseman, two-on-one, gave it to me backdoor — that’s all she wrote,” Nei said.
Late in the second period, it appeared the writing was going to reveal a different story.
Centennial forward Logan Jorgensen tied the game at 1 with a goal 3:13 into the second period.
The Cougars then killed off a five-on-three power play for 31 seconds and a five-on-four situation for 51 seconds, seemingly grasping most of the momentum late in the game.
Centennial took the lead with 9:23 remaining in the second thanks to an even-strength goal by senior Joshua Hermes, whose shot came from just inside the blue line on the team's first power-play chance.
About eight minutes later, the Raiders lost their third-leading point scorer, Grayson Milosch, who was sent to the penalty box with a five-minute major penalty for checking from behind — a penalty that was coupled with 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
“We lost [momentum] there in the second [period],” Raiders defenseman Ryne Mohrman said.
But Mohrman pulled momentum back moments later when — with three seconds to play before the second intermission — he hit a shorthanded goal from almost the same spot as Nei's game-winner.
“I saw Gleason got the puck and had one-on-one out ahead," Mohrman said. "There was only 30 seconds left, [and I was thinking that Centennial is] not going to be able to try and come back and score, so I figured I should try and make it a two-on-one, and it ended up working out.”
Centennial had opportunities in the third period to grab the lead. Some of those chances were created by three more Cretin-Derham Hall penalties that — combined with the 3:39 remaining on Milosch’s major penalty — totaled 8 minutes, 15 seconds of ice time on the wrong end of a five-on-four. Yet, the Cougars came up empty.
“Just didn’t close it out when we had the opportunity,” Centennial coach Ritch Menne said. “We kept the door open, so they deserve to win more than we do.”
The Raiders' ability to consistently force turnovers and control center ice in the third period helped them outshoot the Cougars 7-4.
“For whatever reason, our guys didn’t come out with any energy in the third,” Menne said. "Hopefully, we can reboot and get back tomorrow [for the next round of the tournament]."
Centennial (4-6-0, 1-2-0) is scheduled to face Burnsville at Aldrich starting at 6:30 p.m.
Cretin-Derham Hall (4-4-0, 3-1-0) returns to Aldrich Ice Arena to play Hill-Murray, ranked No. 10 in Class 2A coaches' poll, on Friday, Dec. 28, at 1 p.m.
“We beat a good hockey team today,” Raiders coach Matt Funk said. “We’ve both started slow, but hopefully we can build on this going forward.”